Did Tom Cruise Fly in Top Gun 2?

Although he pilots several different aircraft in Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise was denied clearance by the U.S. Navy to fly the F-18 jet.

Given the actor’s reputation for wild stunts, it’s not surprising that fans were wondering did Tom Cruise actually fly in Top Gun: Maverick. Joseph Kosinski’s sequel has surpassed the original 1986 Top Gun with its box office success and a Best Picture nomination.

Much of this has to do with how the movie prioritized practical effects over CGI, adding authenticity to the aerial action. That said, while it’s no secret that Tom Cruise does his own stunts a lot, some of the tricks proposed for Top Gun: Maverick were a little too ambitious, even by Cruise’s standards.

Why It’s Sensible That Tom Cruise Wasn’t Allowed To Fly A Fighter Jet

The Super Hornet jet does feature in the sequel, but Tom Cruise did not fly them in Top Gun: Maverick as those scenes were all completed with assistance from Navy pilots. According to producer Bruckheimer, Cruise does fly a P-51 propeller-driven fighter plane, as well as some helicopters.

With the assistance of skilled editing, the action sequences are convincing to even the best-trained eye. There’s no confirmation about why the US Navy might have denied Cruise’s aspirations to pilot a Super Hornet, even though the actor has experience flying Top Gun’s supersonic military aircraft. However, the most logical reason would be insurance concerns, which is always enough of a consideration to prevent actors from doing their own stunts.

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Why Does Tom Cruise Like To Do His Own Stunts?

The real reason why Tom Cruise does his own stunts is simple: it’s the best way to tell whatever story is at hand. In the actor’s own words, “It has to do with storytelling… It allows us to put cameras in places that you’re not normally able to do.”

Indeed, if the lead actor in an action movie is able to physically perform the character’s stunts, this removes the necessity to shoot from strange angles or use editing tricks to make dangerous scenes appear real. This ultimately translates to smoother action sequences and scenes closer to the writer, stunt coordinator, and director’s vision.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet Requires An Advanced Pilot

While Tom Cruise did really fly in Top Gun: Maverick with certain aircraft, confirming his exceptional pilot skills, the F/A-18 Super Hornets are not the kind of plane just anyone can jump into and take off.

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It requires specially trained pilots to operate these aircraft given their immense power and the danger involved. Some of the impressive specifics about the plane (via: Military.com) include its maximum speed of 1,190 mph and the ability to climb 45,000 ft per minute.

Such power is needed as the Super Hornets have a 30,500 lb weight while empty which can increase to 66,000 lbs with its maximum weapons load.

Tom Cruise’s Wildest Stunt

By Tom Cruise’s own reckoning, the wildest and most dangerous stunt he’s ever performed is when he hung on to a moving plane in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the fifth movie in the MI series. Not surprisingly, for Tom Cruise, flying a Super Hornet would qualify as a less dangerous stunt, as that would have at least required the actor to be inside the plane.

Although Cruise was harnessed to the plane in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, no amount of safety precautions could account for all the inherent dangers involved with a person wearing virtually no protection while hanging onto a moving aircraft. This just goes to show the level of sheer dedication Cruise brings to his movie projects.

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Key Release Dates

Top Gun: Maverick is out in theaters now.


Did Tom Cruise fly the F-18 in Top Gun: Maverick?

No, Tom Cruise was denied clearance by the U.S. Navy to fly the F-18 jet in Top Gun: Maverick.

Why did the U.S. Navy deny Tom Cruise the opportunity to fly the F-18?

The exact reason is not confirmed, but it is likely due to insurance concerns and the high cost of the aircraft.

What other aircraft did Tom Cruise fly in Top Gun: Maverick?

Tom Cruise flew a P-51 propeller-driven fighter plane and some helicopters in Top Gun: Maverick.

Why does Tom Cruise like to do his own stunts?

Tom Cruise believes that doing his own stunts allows for better storytelling and more authentic action sequences.

What is Tom Cruise’s wildest stunt?

According to Tom Cruise, his wildest stunt was hanging on to a moving plane in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

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